Six Months Later
Edward looked out over the thousands of city lights, his feet dangling carelessly over the edge. He had had doubts about the move at first, but Alice had insisted that things would work out, and he was intrigued by her visions however unlikely he found them to be. At present, he was still trying to keep his newfound love of the Washington Space Needle to himself, lest she get that gleeful "I told you so" look that she got any time she knew she was right. Things had not at all turned out the way he had expected, and yet this time, he was glad of Alice's accuracy, thrilled that he had been so wrong.
"You're quiet tonight," she said as she linked her arm through his elbow and rested her hand against his forearm, a markedly human move. He had never expected her to be so human, so gentle. He himself had been ravenous and unruly as a newborn; it had taken years to calm himself and begin to feel more like he had before the change, a person with feelings and emotions and desires other than thirst. She was so different, so remarkably compassionate and bright from the beginning.
"I'm just thinking about how lucky I am to have found you, darling. How nothing is as I expected, and things are all the better for it," Edward said.
He had been hesitant to embrace his feelings for her at first, but when he did, he immediately saw everything as it truly was. How he had been blinded by the call of Bella's blood. He never realized just how accurate his metaphor comparing her blood to heroin had been. Just as she had been taken in by his ability to "dazzle" her, he in turn had been intoxicated by the mere presence of her blood. His "La tua cantante," he later learned. He had been so convinced that everything was permanent for him as a vampire that Edward had never entertained the idea of being effected by something more powerful than himself. He still felt a desire for her blood—that would never change—but he was now able to differentiate between love and the bloodlust created by this higher phenomenon. With Bree, it would never be about blood or intoxication, mere fixation and desire. In her, he had found his missing half.
They sat hand in hand, the slender girl with muted burgundy eyes and the boy with wild bronze hair and eyes the color of honey, both with a fierce, unnatural beauty that rivaled and enhanced that of the other. The world lay beneath their dangling feet, and eternity stretched across the night sky.
Fifty Years Later
A fire blazed bright in contrast against the dark sky of First Beach. Several generations of Quileute families sat chatting on logs, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs on sticks around a large bonfire. There were jokes and laughter, the smallest child poking an unamused teenage boy with her sticky fingers, and a dog wagging its tail and begging for a taste a few feet away.
The wind blew a tendril of gray hair against her cheek, and she pulled the sweater tighter around her small frame as she made her way to the log, careful not to trip on the loose sand. A warm hand on her shoulder stopped her shivering and pulled her closer, and she couldn't stop the smile that broke across her face. After all of this time, he still gave her butterflies. He helped her sit on the log—theirlog—before slowly lowering himself beside her.
"Shhh…it's time!" A brown-haired boy of about nine whispered.
"Time for what?" asked the little girl with the sticky fingers.
"The legends, of course," the teenage boy said.
"Grandpa, what's a ledge end?" the little girl asked.
Jacob smiled down at his tiniest family member, opening his arms and motioning for her to come sit with him.
"A legend, Lily, is a story about our past," he explained as he picked her up and sat her on his knees.
"Like history in school?" she perked up, happy to understand instead of being told she was too young.
"Yes," Jacob laughed. "Like history in school. Only this story is ourstory," he added.
"Many years ago," he began, "when your grandfather's great grandfather was young, we were a people of the land. We treated the land as our brother, working and protecting it with respect and loyalty. They say that when the earth was new, we were one with the forest, and we walked the ground on four legs."
"Four?" Lily interrupted. "You mean we walked on our hands, too?"
"Shh," a young woman with dark hair and pale skin whispered gently.
Jacob smiled and continued.
"According to the legends, we walked the ground on four legs as wolves, before we became men," he explained.
"As time passed and the land evolved, so did we. Many of the dangers of the forest moved on or grew tame. We became more human than animal, and the Quileutes became a civilized people with a fierce respect and loyalty to the lands. We learned to grow crops, build houses, and tell stories.
After years of living peacefully, the Cold Ones appeared. They had pale faces, red eyes, and the strength of a hundred men. They were unnatural, a danger to our land, our children, and everything we had worked for. After the first attack, the dormant instincts of our wolf ancestors took over, and our bodies called on that ancient knowledge to defeat this new enemy. Our bodies recall that ancient power even now when we come into contact with the Cold Ones."
Lily squirmed in his lap, but she kept quiet, enraptured by the tale she only half understood.
"But everything changed a hundred and fifty years ago. Your grandfather's great grandfather came into contact with a new coven. Our tribe began to shift and change again with their presence, but these were unlike any enemies in our legends. Their eyes were a strange gold instead of red, and the leader spoke with humanity, promising that they would not hurt any human. My great grandfather made a treaty with them, a promise that we would keep peace as long as they stayed away from our land and never harmed a human."
"Gold eyes like the pretty woman in the picture at your house?" Lily whispered to her grandmother at the pause in the story. Bella was surprised at how quickly Lily had made the connection to the picture of Alice.
"Yes, just like hers," Bella whispered back. It pained her to know that it would be years before her grandchildren could come to know the Cullens the way she did to avoid the very changes that Jacob was explaining now in the legend. But she knew that one day they, too, would love and be loved by the Cullens. One day, Bella would leave this earth and the Cullens behind, but their bond would grow strong through her children and grandchildren.
"When I was young, not much older than you," Jacob continued, motioning to the teenage boy, "a pale, clumsy girl changed everything we knew," Jacob winked at Bella and squeezed her hand privately.
"She taught us what no one had ever seen before—that not all of the Cold Ones were evil, and that there was humanity in some. When a dangerous clan came in search of the pale-faced girl, our people and the golden-eyed Cold Ones formed an alliance to protect her, the first in history of the legends. Together, they defeated the army of evil ones, and they have remained bound to each other in friendship and respect ever since. Today, the pale-faced girl sits among us," he ended.
Lily looked around. "Where is she, Grandpa? I don't see her." A chorus of laughter broke the spell of silence Jacob Black had cast over his family.
"He means Grandma, silly!" the brown-haired boy told her.
Lily looked at Bella with a puzzled look on her face.
"It will make more sense when you're older, sweetheart," Bella reassured her. "The important part of the story is that they all lived happily ever after. We all lived happily ever after."